Tech: This interactive map shows where people with hepatitis C live in the US — and it points to some distressing trends
Emory University just released a new set of maps that help visualize where people who have hepatitis C live in the US, down to the ZIP code.
While treatments are available to cure people of hepatitis C, there are roughly 3.9 million people with past or current infections.
HepVu, a new project run by Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the pharmaceutical company Gilead, maps out which states have the highest prevalence of the disease.
It's the same group that runs AIDSVu, a similar project that has been mapping out HIV by county since 2010 to get a better sense of the epidemic.
Hepatitis C is an infection that can lead to serious liver problems if left untreated.
The new site maps out how many people were living with hepatitis C in 2010 as well as how many deaths related to hepatitis C occurred in 2014. Here's what the researchers found.
Here's what the map looks like, hovered over Tennessee. HepVu's data comes from the CDC, Dr. Patrick Sullivan, the project's lead researcher, told Business Insider.
This is the first time there have been state-by-state estimates on hepatitis C, and it's based off data from an academic paper published Wednesday. Here, HepVu mapped out the estimated number of people who had hepatitis C either in the past or present in 2010. Darker orange states have higher numbers of people living with hepatitis C.
Source: Clinical Infectious Disease
The data also looked at the number of cases per 100,000 people. Sullivan said he's noticed that the southern region (Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, etc.) are being disproportionately affected by hepatitis C compared to Midwest and northeast.
The report also broke down details by state. Here's what it looks like for Oklahoma, the state with the highest rate of infection.
While new treatments that can cure hepatitis C came out in 2013, Sullivan said there are a lot of other factors that contribute to a still-growing rate of hepatitis C infections, including the growing opioid epidemic. Here, the project mapped out the rate of deaths related to hepatitis C per 100,000 people in 2014.
Source: CDC, CDC
Sullivan said he hopes people will use the map to consider whether they should get tested. Baby boomers in particular are recommended for testing, in part because hepatitis C wasn't discovered until 1989, so it wasn't screened for in blood donations. Here's what the death rates per 100,000 people looked like in 2014 for people between the ages of 50-69.
Knowing who has hepatitis C and where public health efforts should be deployed at a state level could cut down on the number of deaths related to hepatitis C (of which there were 3,409 in California alone in 2014).
Source: New feed
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